How Mr Gunn, Tower House Master, Is like a Father Figure at St. Lawrence College
St Lawrence College boarding school offers a unique experience for all, allowing our students to develop independence, maturity, and capabilities while forming lasting friendships. Boarding at St. Lawrence College is an experience that not only enriches the students but also allows parents to witness tremendous personal growth in their children.
Mr Gunn, the Tower House Master
Meet Mr Gunn, Tower Housemaster, who has been at St Lawrence College for 4 years and is an integral part of the senior boys’ boarding house. After speaking with Mr Gunn we were able to delve into the exceptional care and support provided by him and the entire St. Lawrence College community..
When we think of father figures, our minds often turn to those individuals who provide us with unwavering support, guidance, and care. At St. Lawrence College, we are fortunate to have Mr Gunn, one of our incredible house masters, who is also the Head of Religious Studies and Psychology. Mr Gunn embodies the qualities of a father figure to our boarding students. His presence and dedication has helped shape our school community and we want to express our gratitude for his remarkable ability to be a pillar of strength at our school.
An Anchor in Times of Need
Mr Gunn’s presence is like an anchor in the stormy sea of boarding life. Just as a father provides stability and comfort during challenging times, Mr Gunn is always there for students, ready to lend an empathetic ear and offer sound advice. Whether it’s homesickness, academic struggles, or personal dilemmas, he creates a safe space for pupils to share concerns and find solace. Through his unwavering support, he helps pupils navigate through the ups and downs of the boarding experience, making the transition away from home a seamless process.
“One of the things we learn as parents is that making a difficult and challenging sacrifice can produce tremendous rewards. An example is – every parent knows what it’s like when they drop their child off at nursery. Part of this is heartbreaking but the other part is that it is an exciting adventure. It is because one knows as a parent that their child will return something new, whether is it that day, by the end of that week or that year. They will be changing and they will be growing, the sacrifice you make is what helps them to develop. For me, the boarding experience is really the epitome of that parental sacrifice. It’s a challenge but having faith in making this big sacrifice, means your child is rewarded…
Independence, Maturity, Capability
I actually think it really enriches the parent-child relationship, because, from a young age, the child can show how capable they are. There is nothing like reflecting with boarding families over a child’s first successful term as an international boarder. The sense of pride they get from that experience is truly remarkable.”
Guiding us towards Success
Similar to how a father guides his children towards a prosperous future, Mr Gunn acts as a guiding force in pupils academic and personal endeavors. He takes a keen interest in goals and aspirations, working tirelessly to help pupils realise their potential. From providing valuable academic advice to connecting pupils with mentors and resources, he goes above and beyond to ensure success. With his wisdom and experience, Mr Gunn instills in the confidence and determination for pupils to achieve their dreams.
A Home Away from Home for International Students
With a student body consisting of 40-50 boys staying in the senior boys’ boarding house throughout the term, St. Lawrence College warmly welcomes international students into its community. Recognising that it is natural for new boarders to feel nervous or anxious, Mr Gunn and his team ensure a seamless transition into boarding life. International students find solace in the inclusive and diverse atmosphere, where boys from different years and nationalities wholeheartedly welcome newcomers.
“It’s normal to feel anxious and a bit worried at the start, but I tend to find incredibly quickly, often in under a week the boys feel right at home here, then I need to remind them to call home to tell them how well things are going.”
Creating a Sense of Belonging
Mr Gunn believes in fostering a strong sense of belonging among the boarding students. Every new boarder is paired with a buddy from their year group, who guides them through their initial days, helping them settle in and feel at home. Additionally, the layers of support at St Lawrence College extend to tutors, house parents, deputy house masters, matrons, and prefects, who play a vital role in ensuring the well-being and integration of new students. The sense of community is further reinforced by regular check-ins and support from prefects who are trained as mental health first aiders.
Supporting Students Facing Challenges
St Lawrence College understands that students may face various challenges during their boarding experience. To address this, the independent listening team, a part of the school’s medical service, provides a safe space for students to discuss any anxieties or pressures they may be experiencing. With a comprehensive support system in place, St. Lawrence College goes the extra mile to ensure that every student receives the necessary care and attention.
“We are very fortunate to be supported by the independent listening team who are a part of our medical service at the school, they can meet with pupils weekly with any anxieties they may be facing, whether they feel any pressure from being at an academic school or the challenges of our sporting offering or anything that may be social or otherwise, they’re there to listen to them.”
Enriching Spiritual Development
In line with its Christian ethos, St. Lawrence College offers students opportunities for reflection and spiritual development through regular chapel services. These gatherings, held three times a week for the boarding community, provide a space for students to explore matters of faith and seek guidance from the school’s chaplain. The chaplain’s unwavering support, both in terms of prayer and personal guidance, makes a significant impact on the students’ overall well-being.
Living on Site – A True Commitment
Mr Gunn, like many dedicated boarding staff, lives on-site, opening his home to the boarding community. This close proximity enables him to form lifelong connections with the families and students he supports.
“When we have people who board with us for a number of years we have relationships that last a life time. Feels very strongly connected to the families who are supporting us.”
Embracing Cultural Diversity – International Day
St. Lawrence College takes great pride in its diverse community and recognises the importance of respecting and appreciating different cultures. International Day, a special event at the school, showcases the richness of various cultures through traditional clothing, performances, and educational displays. This celebration encourages interaction among students and deepens their understanding of different cultural backgrounds, creating a truly inclusive and accepting environment.
“We know that most people come here for a British boarding education and know it is normal to see a difference in culture, it may manifest in situations such as shared dining experiences, worship, attending chapel, or even in the ways in which conversations are held, may vary from culture to culture. We do all we can to respect and appreciate all cultures, it’s in our college statement: We are a college of kindness positivity and respect, we make sure this manifests in everything we do and everything we offer within the school.”
Communication – Whatsapp
The creation of apps like WhatsApp has revolutionised the way we collaborate and support students. At St. Lawrence College, teachers, parents, and support staff work in unison, utilising these apps to stay connected and provide consistent assistance. Parents can actively engage in their child’s progress and well-being through regular updates shared by Mr. Gunn. These updates, whether through email or WhatsApp, provide valuable insights into the child’s achievements, positive experiences, and overall growth. This unified approach between home and school further strengthens the support system for each student.
Shaping Lives in Meaningful Ways
Mr Gunns impact extends far beyond his role as a house master. He becomes an influential figure, shaping pupils character, values, and perspectives. Through his own actions, he teaches essential life skills such as resilience, compassion, and integrity. He encourages pupils to take responsibility for their actions whilst guiding them. By setting high standards and leading by example, Mr Gunn inspires pupils to become better versions of ourselves, preparing them for the challenges that lie ahead.
Final words from Mr Gunn
“It is a privilege to see young boys go from being young boys to young men. The change they go through is so significant, it is really special. The pleasure and privilege is all mine and I see myself very fortunate to be able to witness it.”
In the corridors of St. Lawrence College, Mr Gunn stands tall as a father figure to our pupils. His unwavering support, guidance, and caring nature have touched the lives of countless boarding students. We are incredibly fortunate to have him as a pillar of strength, shaping our lives in such a meaningful way. As we express our gratitude, let us remember that father figures like Mr Gunn are invaluable in providing the stability, love, and support we need during our educational journey. Thank you, Mr Gunn, for being a beacon of light and a fatherly presence in our lives at St. Lawrence College.